I have made few comments about the so-called conspiracy against the Apple iPhone.
The story was that Motorola was ready to release a cellular phone that was also an iPod device, but it couldn't find any carriers for it.
What's more interesting to me is the tug of war now taking place among entrepreneurs between these two technologies.
And, surprisingly, cellular is losing.
The reason has to do with business models and open standards. (Thus the picture above of standard pawns, available from the good people at Rolcogames.)
Cellular has no reason to lose this battle. Phones are incredibly versatile. They can include other devices and still provide their basic function. They are becoming capable of computing, of handling multimedia files. They're getting photo-realistic screens, hard drives, fast processors, and broadband connections.
What's not to love?
From a pure technology perspective, the iPod has little to recommend it. It's a portable hard disk with earphones. But say the word "podcast" in a room full of VCs these days and it's like ringing a bell before a Pavlovian dog. Salivation is going to ensue.
Why? Podcasts take advantage of open standards. They're distributed over the Internet. Most are in the MP3 format. They're found using RSS feeds. These are open, nearly-universal standards, meaning anyone can get into the market.
By contrast, cellular companies run walled gardens. Verizon vettes everything that goes out on its network, both from a technology and content perspective, then it expects to control the marketing and a hunk of the money.
Podcasting represents open standards.
The cellular industry uses closed standards.
The answer is as simple as that.